Houston I. Flournoy, a Republican who narrowly lost to Jerry Brown in the 1974 California gubernatorial election, has died. He was 78.
Flournoy died Monday of heart failure while flying on a private plane from San Diego to Santa Rosa, said his son, David Flournoy. The elder Flournoy had suffered from emphysema.
Before running for governor, Flournoy served three two-year terms in the state Assembly starting in 1960. He was elected to the first of two terms as state controller in 1966, defeating Democrat Alan Cranston, who went on to become a U.S. senator.
In the 1974 gubernatorial race, Flournoy won 47.3% of the vote, to 50.2% for Brown. Flournoy blamed the loss on the public backlash against President Gerald Ford's pardon of ex-President Richard Nixon and a shortage of campaign money.